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Burundi coup leader announced as leader of new armed group

Burundi coup leader announced as leader of new armed group


Burundian rebels on Thursday said they’ve elected leader of the failed coup, General Godefroid Niyombare, as the head of a newly created armed group, the Republican Forces of Burundi (Forebu).

Niyombare, 47, was the first ever Hutu chief of general staff of the army in April 2009. Prior to that he was a commander of another rebel group.

Before his dismissal in February 2015, he was the head of the National Intelligence Services. His term was ended following reports that he had written a memo condemning President Pierre Nkurunziza’s plans to run for a third term in office.

Four of the leaders of the failed coup were sentenced to life in prison on January 15, while nine others were jailed for 30 years. However, Niyombare, who was a Major General at the time of the attack, was never arrested.

In a statement sent to AFP news Agency, Forebu’s spokesperson said the overall coordination of the organisation will be provided by Niyombare.

In April 2015 , Burundi plunged into violence following the announcement of President Nkurunziza’s third term bid violating the constitution and the Arusha Agreement that ended a civil war between the army and Hutu rebels.

Two weeks later, Niyambore announced on radio the removal of President Nkurunziza who had traveled to Tanzania at the time.

The Forebu says it will seek to unite various armed groups operating in the field under one banner.

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